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I hate going to the hairdressers. Like, I really hate it.
The entire experience brings out the worst of my social anxiety. I find myself dressing up and putting on way more makeup to my hairdresser appointments than anywhere else because I want the person who’s cutting my hair to think I’m a cool person who needs a ‘cool’ haircut – although, in fairness, anything is an improvement on the standard trackies, hoodies, and messy bun uniform for freelancers!!
The smallest things fill me with this irrational doubt: should I close my eyes when she’s washing my hair, or keep them open? Looking at myself in the mirror feels weird – but where else do I look? Does my relaxed face make me look like I hate what she’s doing – should I try to smile? The hairdressers around me look like they’re having a much better time than mine is.
And no matter how good I’m feeling in the morning, having to sit in front of a mirror with bad lighting and a drab gown draped around my neck for an hour is a sure-fire way to leave me wallowing in a pit of self-loathing for the rest of the day.
Being forced to make prolonged small talk with a stranger is only slightly better than being forced to sit in silence in close proximity with a stranger while worrying the lack of conversation is because they think I’m strange, or awkward, or weird. Which, guess what, I am.
(If you’re reading this and can’t relate – I envy you).
As an added insult, I’m expected to endure all of that and then pay £50 for the pleasure.
So, I’ve avoided getting haircuts for as long as I can remember.
Before last week, I hadn’t had my hair cut in about 18 months. Before that? We’d probably have to go back another year, at least.
Lessons From My Annual Haircut
So as you can probably tell, booking myself in for an appointment last week was kind of a big deal for me.
And I’m not going to lie – the experience sucked. As usual, I endured an hour of awkward small talk and staring at my own face for far longer than I’d like.
What inspired this blog post though, is what happened after.
I got compliments – multiple compliments – on my hair that same evening. And I never get compliments about my hair. It’s always just…there. Average.
What really hit me though, was that every time I looked in the mirror, I fell in love with my haircut.
I felt great.
I was glad I’d spent that money because I felt a million times more confident.
I’d forgotten how something so simple as a haircut can skyrocket your self-esteem.
In the pursuit of frugality, I’d forgotten about myself. I’d forgotten to make myself happy.
And you know what else?
I always told myself I went so long between hair cuts because of my frugal habits. That I was saving money and getting out of ‘consumer culture’ by letting my hair grow wild and unchecked.
I wasn’t avoiding hair cuts because of frugality. I avoided them because they made me miserable.
Frugal living became something I let myself hide behind.
It made me think – when does frugal living tip the scale into extremeness? When does a frugal attitude become damaging to the rest of your personality?
The Cost Of Frugality? How To Know If Frugality Has Gone Too Far:
1. You’re Using It As An Excuse To Avoid Something
Do you skip social events with the excuse that you need to save money, when in fact it’s because you’re a total introvert? Do you eat the same meal, over and over again, because it’s cheap – but also because you don’t want to try eating new foods?
Bring some awareness into your money-saving habits and look beyond just the money. If you’re using those habits to mask something you’d be better off facing head-on, recognising that fact is the first step.
2. Your Lifestyle Is Worse Off
Now, let’s be real: my lifestyle wasn’t really worse off for having an average hairdo. But I’d never really made the connection with the confidence boost a hair cut can give you – and that going to the hairdressers could be almost enjoyable with that outcome.
For other people, extreme frugality may be making your lifestyle far worse. It’s when you’re miserable because of frugality that you need to question what’s really more important: a few pennies, or your happiness?
3. You Feel Isolated
Does your extreme approach to frugality leave you isolated from other people? If your social life is suffering as a result of a quest to save money, this could be a sign that you need to re-evaluate things.
4. You Never Treat Yourself
One of the best things I learned from Parks and Recreation (and believe me, there’s a lot of lessons in that show) is that sometimes, you’ve got to treat yo self.
If extreme frugality means you never use your money for your own happiness, that’s a sign things have gotten too far.
5. You Don’t Actually Enjoy Being Frugal
There’s a real difference between missing out and FOMO. It only takes a shift in perspective to realise that all those holidays, expensive belongings, and extravagant purchases the people all around you are making go hand in hand with a heap of debt that being frugal allows you to avoid. That’s frugal living done right.
However, frugality may have gone too far if you don’t even enjoy being frugal anymore. When the joy of your lifestyle choices has disappeared, maybe things have shifted too far away from a healthy balance.
This post was inspired by a hair cut and that may seem like kind of a dumb thing for a lot of people. That’s not the real point, though. The point is that sometimes, your own happiness – be it short-term or long-term – is more important than the lifestyle you’re trying to adhere to, or the fastest route to financial freedom.
As for me, I’ve already accepted the fact that I’ll be paying for my £50 haircut every 3 months, and that if I ever want my social anxiety to improve I need to face the situations that escalate it, not run from them – and honestly? The cost of creating that happier life for myself is priceless.
You are not the only one who dreaded going to the salon. I would rather go to the dentist. I went over a year since my last haircut ( a horrible one at that) when I had my new boyfriend, now husband give me a haircut in his kitchen. I mentioned my hair was in rough shape as he was playing with it and that I knew I needed it cut. He told me he could cut it for me if I wanted him to. No trip to the salon? You can cut it for me was my question and I asked for details about his ability to do it. He said he had done so many times before for female friends and his ex, he had good shears, hair clips and a sectioning comb. He explained the process and it sounded good. I was on my second glass of wine, so I said not now, but tomorrow morning is better for me. He said fine, see you in the morning, just have your hair washed and dried, no product in it. So I knocked on his door and announced I was there for my hair appointment and he laughed. He poured me a cup of coffee and I took a seat on the stool. He combed my hair and I told him I know it is bad, it needs a good chopping, take off four inches. He said let’s take it slow, I am not going to need to cut that much off. So he sectioned it, pinned it up, then started at my nape and trimmed each layer. He did 90 degree cutting on the sides to blend the badly chopped layers in my hair. He took off about an inch and a half, that’s all. When he finished, he had me sit tight while he swept up the clippings on the floor, then I dashed to the bathroom mirror to inspect his work. I looked in the mirror and I was so happy, my hair looked great! He gave me a hand mirror to check the back. It was the best haircut I could ever remember getting and it was free! I wasn’t going to have to go to the salon. I informed him he was now my hair guy. I had to work that evening and when I went to work my friend/coworker knew I had been talking about getting a haircut and she told me my hair looked great. She knew my budget was tight, so she followed up with where did you get it cut and how much did it cost you with a concerned look on her face, afraid I spent too much. I told her my new guy cut for me this morning and it was FREE! She did a closer inspection of my hair and said it looks great, he did a really nice job. So I am still having him cut my hair for me years later. I have him trim my hair every other month, I have not been back to the salon since! I save hundreds a year, great looking hair that I get compliments on and I had hubby cut my best friend’s hair three days before our wedding as she had gone months since a bad haircut at the salon and I wanted her to look good for the pictures. He did henna color to balance out her natural hair color and the mess the salon made. She was vey happy, got compliments at work and told me she asked for her stylist’s number and can they make an appointment. I told her no, I don’t want strangers coming to the house. I told her I was fine with him cutting her hair and she she does have him continue to cut hers, but I don’t want the interruptions of what our plans are. He cuts my hair, my mom’s, my chilildren’s and hers. He also gave her daughter a much needed haircut last year when she stopped by with her mom when she was home visiting. So I am spoiled and I don’t have to do that salon thing I always dreaded.
The Wallet Moth says
Lucky you! I need to find myself a friend like your husband! 🙂
That’s funny! I have had a couple friends ask if they could “borrow my husband” for a few hours. I thank them for the compliment, but he is pretty busy here at home between, the garden, the bees, the chickens, doing routine car maintenance and all of the cooking, so I am not going to loan him out. I have sent him over to help my mother with a plumbing, electrical or help with her car issues. But that is my mom and she has gotten to where she doesn’t call me first, she calls him directly.
he usually doesn’t mind helping. I have asked him and he has helped my sister clean out from snow as he had the snowblower on the back of his truck to clear out our rental property an my sister’s place is along the way. Most of the time when I have asked him to give a friend a haircut it has been at our house, there was one time that was kind of funny and that was last year when my best friend invited us to a barbecue, and she asked if hubby could bring his hair shears. He did as well as the cape, clips, comb, etc in the kit bag and trimmed her hair out on her deck. clean up was easy as she just swept the clippings into the bushes off of her deck, she said friend ou can trust it is good fertilizer.
I hope you do find a friend you can trust to cut your hair for you, it is so much nicer telling my hubby I need a trim and he does it versus booking an appointment, etc.
I hated going to the salon. It wasn’t the money I spent, it was the fear of them messing up my hair, which I am very picky about. My worst experience was about ten years ago. I went to a new salon after my divorce as I relocated back home with my parents, tough situation there for sure. A coworker had recommended the place as she had good experiences there. Well my stylist was rude. I told him what I wanted and he acted like I was speaking another language. Well after my hair was washed he began yanking it as he tried to comb it. Instead of starting from the ends and working towards the roots, he just went from the roots and yanked and grumbled that he hated long hair. My hair was just below my shoulders, not long really. After the painful ordeal, he jerked my head around as he hacked away at my hair in a haphazrd fashion, then I heard the ripping sound as he used a razor on my hair after I told him upfront I didn’t want him to use a razor or thinning shears on my hair. Well he shrieked at me that I don’t tell him how to cut hair. After he finished he used the blow dryer on my hair while styling it and he was burning my scalp. I told him it is too hot, you are burning my scalp, again he shrieked at me that I don’t tell him what to do. When he finished I say the final results and Ibstarted tearing up, I paid my bill which was $60 and then I tipped another $10. Stupid me. I went out to my car and I bawled my head off. I had shorter layers on top that were disconnected from the longer pieces on the back and sides that were now about four inches shorter when I told him to take off about an inch. It was horrible. I had other bad haircuts, but this one was the worst. I went over a year before I had my hair cut again, and I too would rather go to the dentist than the salon, even to get a tooth pulled, as the pain from the tooth will be gone in a couple days, but a bad haircut seems to stay with you a long time. It took over two years for me to recover from that bad haircut.
The Wallet Moth says
Oh no that sounds awful! 🙁 Thankfully I’ve never had an experience like that – those kinds of experiences do really stick with you! Hope you find yourself a much better (and kinder!) hairdresser in the future